Jun 22, 2010

Meet the Team!

I am Stephen Bergin, a rising senior at Duke University with
a major in chemistry. Although I have spent most of college in the lab, I was excited to learn about the unique Duke Engage opportunity that would allow me to travel to Medellín. From an outsider’s perspective built primarily upon news reports focused on drugs and violence of the 90s, Medellin appeared to be one of the last places I should
want to travel. Beyond this lingering stigma however, were the pictures, smiles and stories of Colombians living happily. I hope that my time in Medellin will enable me to meet these people who are the living proof of the softer side of Medellin and to learn what this beautiful country and i
ts culture have to offer. After I leave Medellin, I hope that the experiences made and friendships forged will be meaningful so that I can speak of Medellín as less of an outsider and as more of a person with a vested interest in the well being of the Carlos E. Restrepo community

My name is Carolina de Armas and I am from Miami, FL. I just finished my sophomore year at Duke and next semester I am going to be studying abroad in Barcelona. I plan on majoring in English and Economics but I’m not sure what I want to do after school is over. I wanted to participate in the DukeEngage in Medellin program because I think the project we are working on is important and I want to learn about Colombia and its culture. I am a little nervous but mostly excited about the program and can’t wait to meet everyone!

Hi everyone! I'm Molly. I'm from Chapel Hill, North
Carolina. I am 19 years old and a rising sophomore at Duke University. I plan to double major in Art History and Spanish. I have a younger sister, Clara, who is a
beautiful ballerina. She'll be attending the School of American
Ballet in New York City this summer. Some things about me: I love music - my
favorite musicians are Santana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Yeasayer, Juanes, Ella Fitzgerald, and many more. I also adore cooking, traveling, dancing, art, art museums, photography, being outside, and so much more. The Colombian culture fascinates me... from the history of the country to the art, the food, the music, and the salsa - I can't wait to live in Medellín for two months! It promises to be a new and foreign experience for me. Though I've travelled to other countries like Italy, Spain, France and England, I have never lived with a host family nor have I immersed myself into the culture the way we will in Colombia. I am so excited to learn about Medellín's history, to document the stories of the people who have lived there, and to get to know our compañeros and new families!

Hi! My name is Andrei Santalo, and I am 19 years old. I was raised in West Palm Beach, FL, and I now attend Duke University. I love to read and write, but I am also a huge endorphin junky. After the 15 years I played baseball, I consider myself to be fairly athletic; going for long runs is the most relaxing and self-fulfilling thing I can do. On top of that, I am also obsessed with dancing. At Duke, I am (currently thinking of) studying behavioral genetics and ethical policy. I am constantly changing my mind about what I want to study just because I have such diverse interests. I am not sure what I plan on doing in the future, but as long as I am happy and I love my job everything will be perfect.I applied to the Medellin program because I have never done anything like this before. I want to challenge myself to step out of my comfort zone. Furthermore, I come from a very Cuban family, yet I am not so sure I identify with my culture. I want to discover Medellín and learn all there is to learn. Negative stereotypes are always associated with Colombia, but I want to judge for myself. Hopefully, I can help in displaying Medellín’s beauty. Although I am very nervous to immerse myself in another culture, I am beyond excited for this opportunity.

Hi! My name is Katrina Robelo, and I’m a rising junior at Duke University majoring in art history and English. I was born and raised in Miami, Florida, which some jokingly claim to be “the capital of Latin America.” My dad is Nicaraguan and my mom is Cuban, so Latin American culture has been and continues to be a large influence in my life, which is primarily why DukeEngage Medellín was initially appealing to me.
I first heard about DukeEngage as a freshman and decided that I definitely wanted to participate in an international program, particularly one in a Spanish-speaking country. Never having been to South America, Medellín is my ideal program not only because of its location but also because of the primary work of the students—making documentary films to change people’s perception of Colombia. However, my family believed the program to be less than ideal to say the least. When I first told my parents that I wanted to go to Medellín, they asked, “Do you have to go to Colombia of all places?” With similar concerns, my grandmother bluntly stated, “¿Colombia? ¡Estás loca!” While their uneasiness has been put to rest (for the most part), their initial reactions are all too familiar—and exactly what DukeEngage Medellín is trying to change; Colombia is more than just a history of violence.
Past participants of the program have told me to expect lots of food, dancing, and when it comes time to go, a desire to visit Medellín again. I know this is going to be an unforgettable experience, and I probably won’t be able to stop talking about it once I get home, surely having fallen in love with Colombia’s people and culture. Who knows? Maybe I’ll even want to move to Medellín.

My name is Cassidy and I am from Charlotte, North Carolina and I attend Duke University where I am majoring in Latin American studies and political science. I am devoted to my big Polish family. I live with my parents, two sisters, brother, grandmother and a menagerie of pets. I love to read, run and write: the three essential r's. I also became obsessed with documentary filmmaking over the last semester through my work with the Center for Documentary Studies. My goals for the next ten years are to go to law school, hike an entire mountain range and write a steamy romance novel. I love being outdoors. I would prefer to go backpacking in the mountains any day than exploring the wonders of Disneyland. My favorite vacation place in North Carolina is Doughton Park, a small park in the Blue Ridge mountains because its wide open fields and rolling hills make you feel as if you have stepped into the "Sound of Music."